Haute Historian: Fashion Safari From Ted Lapidus

The name Ted Lapidus may not ring too many bells now-a-days, although the fashion label is still actively selling colognes and perfumes and his vintage, over-sized sunglasses are popular among celebs like Nicole Richie. But mention one of his claims to fame, such as the Safari suit, and there are sure to be a lot of “oh’s” and “ah’s” of recognition and maybe a few chuckles as well. Lapidus, a French designer who gained his popularity during the 1960s and 1970s for making unisex fashion popular, (picture then-model Twiggy in a suit and tie) was also known for bringing the military and safari looks to the mainstream. Adding such features like straps and utilitarian pockets and other such detailings to men’s and women’s clothing was a first for the fashion mainstream and is the inspiration for many popular designers and fashion trends today.
Going on an African safari dates back much further than the 70s when the safari suit became popular street-wear. The characteristics of safari clothing was worn for function rather than fashion. The safari style came from the need of light-weight, light-colored clothing to be most comfortable in the desert heat. The khaki and beige colors also acted as a camouflage as well since the men and women on safari were more than likely on the hunt for big game and needed to blend into their arid surroundings. The safari suit and its similarly styled clothing adopted these features and became quite the trend for both men and women and continues to resurface every few years.
As the temperatures start heating up, many fashionistas and clothes-minded women are looking to add Spring 2012 fashion trends to their wardrobes and the seasons trends are ripe with Ted Lapidus inspired garments whether acknowledged or not. Michael Kors is one such designer whose spring collection uses pale tones, leopard prints and other safari-themed clothing features that are sure to be as popular this season as Lapidus’ safari trends were in the 70s.
1. Michael Kors Spring 2012 RTW, style.com
2. Ted Lapidus, photographed in 1967 © Rex Features, vogue.co.uk
3. Vintage Oversize Ted Lapidus Paris Ladies Womens Sunglasses, 1970s, ebay
4. Ted Lapidus 1970s Safari Menswear, The Courier-Mail
5. Ted Lapidus Design, Lapidus Boutique in L’Officiel n.597, 1973, blog.stylesight.com
—Bonnie J Brown
Image layout: Second City Style

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